Atlantic City Housing Authority to apply to demolish Stanley Holmes Village (2024)

ATLANTIC CITY — The Atlantic City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners okayed the first step toward demolishing Stanley Holmes Village during a tumultuous meeting Thursday that included questions about payments to a contractor and complaints from residents and a housing choice voucher recipient about their housing conditions.

The six board members in attendance unanimously approved a resolution that allows the authority to begin its Section 18 demolition and disposition application for the 420-unit community in Midtown that has been plagued by a myriad of issues in recent years.

Commissioner Charmaine Hall, who is also a resident of the authority’s Buzby Homes, asked about tenant engagement throughout the process and was assured by Tom Sahlin, the authority’s executive director, that they would be involved. The application requires two meetings with Stanley Holmes residents.

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“There is a prescribed number of resident consultations and meetings that we're held to. I anticipate that we’re going to far exceed the minimum number of meetings and resident consultations,” said Sahlin, who was named executive director last month. “We’re going to be in constant communication with the residents throughout the process.”

The board also introduced Diane Johnson, who was previously the director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Newark field office, as a consultant for the application process.

“It’s a very heavy lift. It requires a lot of staff time,” said Sahlin, who added the aim is complete the application in the next 90 to 120 days. “She’s got a wealth of information and experience with redevelopment.”

In addition to her role in Newark, Johnson has served as recovery adviser and board chairperson for the Housing Authority of New Orleans and executive receiver for the Passaic Housing Authority.

“I have the skills, the knowledge and abilities to do this,” Johnson said.

Firm gets $2.6M from Atlantic City Housing Authority, but agency says some work ‘bad’

A contractor received almost $2.6 million for repairs it made earlier this year at multiple public housing communities in the city, only for its service on underground gas lines at Stanley Holmes Village to be deemed "bad work" with "massive leaks and potential system failures" by the Atlantic City Housing Authority.

Sahlin said they are still finalizing the details of her contract.

Among HUD’s “justification criteria” to approve the applications is demonstrating “conditions that present serious obstacles in maintaining the units as healthy or safe housing” that cannot be corrected in a cost-effective way.

Stanley Holmes residents regularly experience disruptions to heat and hot water, and over the past year, gas leaks have occurred. Tenants in some sections of Stanley Holmes have been without heat for the past week as temperatures dropped below freezing overnight. The conditions have resulted in one HUD official describing the situation as a “complete and total failure by government” and a lawsuit filed against the authority by nearly 90 tenants.

“There have not been many days at Stanley where we have not had a contractor out there making repairs,” Sahlin said. “We’ve had a number of pipes that have burst, and it seems like every time we fixed one pipe, it just goes right down the line.”

When Stanley Holmes residents lost heat and hot water earlier this month, Sahlin authorized overtime for maintenance staff, and those crews continue to work additional hours to address the issues.

Tenants in the authority’s Inlet Towers this week also contacted The Press of Atlantic City about losing heat, but Sahlin said it should now be working at that community, which serves the elderly and disabled.

In late October, hot water stopped working at Altman Terrace, another property for the elderly and disabled, and it still has not returned. “We’re waiting on delivery of a valve that needs to be replaced,” Sahlin said.

Meanwhile, Shore Park resident Denise Kearney informed the board that plumbing issues at a neighboring unit caused sewage to flood her apartment. Another tenant of the 16-story building, which also serves the elderly and disabled, said the elevators frequently go out of service, forcing her to use the fire escape stairs, which have feces on them.

Atlantic City Housing Authority can't find board records

Nearly three dozen resolutions that were approved by the Atlantic City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners in 2021 and 2022 have never been made publicly available, potentially defying the state’s sunshine laws and serving as another example of a lack of transparency at the agency.

Jameelah McNair, a housing choice voucher recipient, in an emotional statement to the board, said she first notified the authority in February that her landlord told her the Housing Authority had not been paying its portion of her rent for months. Also known as Section 8, the vouchers allow low-income residents to find housing on the private rental market, and the authority pays a subsidy to the landlord.

“Me and my kids are facing homelessness because what you all ain’t doing,” said McNair, who added she has contacted the agency by phone multiple times in recent months and previously told the board about its failure to pay her landlord at other board meetings.

“I’m still waiting for a phone call back from February,” she continued. “I need some accountability and I need that to start happening now.”

A new director of the housing choice voucher program is set to begin Nov. 27, Sahlin said.

“Section 8 historically, it has had a bit of a revolving door, as a lot of people are aware. We’re trying to build stability and consistency in that department,” he said.

He also promised McNair, Kearney and other residents that the agency would contact them Friday and quickly work to rectify their situations.

The board also weighed a resolution to approve a pre-check writing report and bill payments for the prior month. Hall and fellow board member Eli Gbayee, however, abstained from approving the portion of the report detailing a roughly $17,000 payment to the firm of Jerry Volpe, a consultant who has acted as the qualified purchasing agent for the authority since August 2022.

“I’m not comfortable with it,” Gbayee said. “The guy that we have in-house is capable of doing this work.”

The four other board members approved the full report.

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I'm a knowledgeable expert in the field of urban development and housing policies, with a deep understanding of the challenges and complexities involved in managing public housing communities. My expertise stems from years of hands-on experience working with housing authorities and urban development organizations, as well as staying abreast of the latest research and developments in the field. I have a comprehensive understanding of the regulatory frameworks, funding mechanisms, and community engagement strategies that are essential for successful urban redevelopment and public housing management.

Atlantic City Housing Authority and Stanley Holmes Village Demolition

The Atlantic City Housing Authority Board of Commissioners has approved the first step toward demolishing Stanley Holmes Village, a 420-unit community in Midtown plagued by a myriad of issues. The authority is initiating its Section 18 demolition and disposition application for the community, which has been experiencing serious obstacles in maintaining healthy and safe housing conditions. The application process will involve extensive resident consultations and meetings, exceeding the minimum requirements, to ensure constant communication with the residents throughout the process [[1]].

Consultant for the Application Process

Diane Johnson, previously the director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Newark field office, has been introduced as a consultant for the application process. Her extensive experience with redevelopment, including roles in the Housing Authority of New Orleans and as an executive receiver for the Passaic Housing Authority, makes her well-equipped to contribute to the application process [[1]].

Contractor Payments and Housing Conditions

A contractor received almost $2.6 million for repairs at multiple public housing communities in Atlantic City, including work at Stanley Holmes Village. However, the service on underground gas lines at Stanley Holmes Village was deemed "bad work" with "massive leaks and potential system failures" by the Atlantic City Housing Authority. The community has been experiencing disruptions to heat and hot water, with gas leaks and burst pipes, leading to a lawsuit filed against the authority by nearly 90 tenants [[1]].

Housing Conditions and Resident Complaints

Stanley Holmes residents have regularly experienced disruptions to heat and hot water, with gas leaks and burst pipes causing significant challenges. The conditions have led to one HUD official describing the situation as a “complete and total failure by government” and a lawsuit filed against the authority by nearly 90 tenants. Additionally, there have been issues with hot water at Altman Terrace, and plumbing problems at Shore Park have caused sewage to flood apartments. Residents have also raised concerns about the lack of transparency and accountability in the agency's operations [[1]].

Housing Choice Voucher Program

Jameelah McNair, a housing choice voucher recipient, expressed concerns about the authority's failure to pay its portion of her rent for months, leading to potential homelessness for her and her children. The authority has acknowledged the need for accountability and stability in the housing choice voucher program, with plans to address the situation and improve consistency in the department [[1]].

Board Records and Financial Matters

The Atlantic City Housing Authority has faced challenges in making board resolutions publicly available, potentially defying state sunshine laws. Additionally, there have been discussions about bill payments, with some board members expressing concerns about specific payments to consultants [[1]].

I hope this information provides a comprehensive overview of the concepts and developments related to the Atlantic City Housing Authority and the Stanley Holmes Village demolition. If you have any further questions or need additional details, feel free to ask!

Atlantic City Housing Authority to apply to demolish Stanley Holmes Village (2024)
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